Ren Drake

Ren Drake

FRAO Office Brings Charities Together

Representatives of several of Rosarito’s charity organizations gathered together in the last FRAO (Foreign Residents Assistance Office) meeting to speak a few words regarding their functions. Robin Gunther was concerned that Rosarito’s 2012 Animal Law was not being enforced, which stated that tiny puppies would no longer be sold along the roadside. Baja California Spay & Neuter educates children in animal care, so that they are more aware of how to treat dogs and cats. To this date more than 20,000 animals have been spayed or neutered by this organization, and they receive no money from the City.

Susan Smith informed all about the Flying Samaritans mission to provide health care to over 300 persons a month who cannot obtain health care anywhere else. All doctors and volunteers are just that, volunteers. All money is from memberships, donations, and special events. Jackie Alameda mentioned that the Annual Baja Blues Fest provides funds for education, food, and transportation to many of Rosarito’s children. They also help with documentation for those deported into Mexico with no identification paperwork.

Jim Henshaw, soon to be elected to President of the United Society of Baja California (USBC), identified this group as being the hub of charities for the Rosarito area, and that the Society supports two students in medical university at this time. Mary Moreno, president of Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos of Rosarito described that all money received from the Rosarito Thrift Store goes to the Rosarito Cruz Roja Hospital and ambulance service and have just expanded the size of the store. Jeff Failing of Rosarito Sister Cities informed everyone that Sister Cities has been around since President Eisenhower’s creation in the 1950’s, and fully operated by unpaid volunteers, supplying police cars, vests and accessories to the police department, and books to children, pairing Rosarito to Cities in the US and around the world.

Dolly Duff took a few moments to introduce everyone to the DACA Dreamers Assistance Project that focuses on women and young adults who have been deported into Mexico with absolutely nothing, including identification, but primarily asks them to voluntarily deport themselves; and offers them housing, mentoring, job placement and skills to allow them a life in Mexico until they can legally return to the United States via Visa in the future. Mavourneen O’Brien mentioned a few words about the Club de Ninos y Ninas who supervise about 80 children aged 6 – 12, in the afternoons who have no other supervision. Volunteers with a hobby, talent or passion to share are encouraged to spend an hour a week sharing this entity with the children. They are now totally solar-powered.

FRAO meets every month, 10 am on the third Thursday at the Calafia Titanic Room (except December). The FRAO office is located on the ground floor of City Hall, room 108, open Monday – Friday, 8am – 3pm; 661-614-9600, ext. 1080. The office can help you with services including obtaining a driver’s license; residency, answer legal questions, and solve problems.

One of the main motives for this assembly was for foreign residents to complete a five-page survey entitled the “2018 Public Consultation.” Questions covered the topics of development in housing, business, government, and other factors. The survey is available online in Spanish at To obtain a copy in English please contact the FRAO office via email at or through their Facebook page. The City would like to collect everyone’s response before the Christmas break, so get a move on! The City wants to hear from you.

Mary Moreno, CR Rosarito President; Contractor, Luis Boroquez; Maricella Maciel, Hospital Representative; and Board members Terry D’Angona and Jerry Allen.

Cruz Roja Rosarito Thrift Store Expands

The sign in the store reads “Come in – we are awesome.” And they are — the Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos of Rosarito at the Rosarito thrift Store want you to know that they are going through a bit of an expansion in the next few weeks, but are still open for business!

In October, the Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos presented a check to Servicio Boroquez to start work immediately on a new storage room . With the Cruz Roja Hospital’s blessing, about 100 square feet of storage space will be added to the west side of the existing thrift store. The new space will be used to house items being stored for special events, such as the Dama’s Christmas Bazaar, and the Annual Cruz Roja Fashion Show.

By moving the “special items,” more space will become available for the volunteers to process donations of housewares, clothing, and books, and to place them in the shop for sale quickly. The Thrift Store runs on minimal overhead so that more of the money gets to the hospital, which responds to more than 300 emergencies monthly.

The expansion was introduced to the members at the monthly general meeting, and was met with full support. The Thrift Store is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm. Annual membership is a mere $20 per person, and the benefits include a 10% discount on Cruz Roja hospital services, and a 50% discount on ambulance trips to the US border. General meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at 10 am at Popotla Restaurant. If you have large items, you may even call for a pick up: 661-623-3455.

The Rosarito Flying Samaritans Need Your Help

No sooner had the Flying Samaritans of Rosarito celebrated their successful first Oktoberfest sell-out, tragedy struck. On the night of October 13 or 14, thieves broke into the Flying Samaritans clinic pharmacy, possibly in search of narcotics, and ran amok. The Flying Samaritans clinic does not stock or offer narcotics or opioids at any time. But apparently the burglars didn’t know that.

However, the perpetrators did steal three computers, medical items (i.e. anything not nailed down) and diabetic supplies. They also pretty much tore up the place. The Flying Samaritans offers the only diabetic care available to many Rosaritenses.

The good news is that community members have already donated four computers to the clinic. But funds are desperately needed to make repairs to the clinic, and to replace diabetes medications, medical supplies, and to purchase a security camera system with motion detectors and lights.

Cash donations may be made through PayPal at For more information on how you may donate, or just help out, contact President of the Flying Samaritans, Susan Smith at; MX phone: 661-100-6066; US phone 1-858-240-2360.

The Flying Samaritans may even be able to utilize your talented hands to help with the institution’s repairs. And remember, the Saturday clinics can always use more volunteers. Thank you very much, fellow Rosaritenses, for your support!

Cempasuchil Signals the Days of the Dead

If you’ve been driving round town lately, you may have noticed the budding flower stands popping up everywhere, offering bright orange flowers in pots and by the bunch. It is the season of the cempashuchil.

The cempashuchil is the ceremonial flower of the ofrendas, or Day of the Dead altars, from October, through November 3. Also known as marigolds or flor de Muertos (flowers of the dead), this blossom is the traditional flower to decorate not only altars, but gravesites throughout Mexico. Even though the marigold blooms in white, yellow, and orange, the orange is the traditional color chosen for this holiday, and one of Mexico’s most important traditions.

The flowers sold in Rosarito, Tecate, Mexicali, and all over Baja are grown right here in Rosarito, at the El Carrizal Ranch in Rosarito Canyon; started by one of Baja’s first families, the Machados.

Only a mere 300 yards from the Rosarito Beach Hotel as the crow flies, the El Carrizal Ranch, owned by Machado descendant, Jorge Luis Hinojo Gonzalez is one of the oldest farms in the Rosarito area. This region was, at one time, the border between the United States and Mexico. In actuality, the US/Mexico border has been “relocated” several times throughout history. It’s kind of nice that the border has moved, and there is not a wall running across Benito Juarez Boulevard.

Rancho El Carrizal is open to the public as well as wholesalers, so feel free to run up and see the b eautiful fields before they are all harvested for the season.  But be careful when visiting the marigold fields; there are bees… lots and lots of bees.

Directions: go east and under the cuota on Calle de la Palma, from the Festival Plaza Hotel. Turn south, continuing past the Oxxo and gas station onto a dirt road (Calle Alta Tension). Turn right at the bend in the road, and follow the signage reading “Ruta Eco Turistica Canyon” to the gate of El Carrizal, and the signs that read: “El Carrizo Cempasuchil” and “Verita flor de cempashuchil  Mayoreo y Machado.”

Whether you have a traditional Day of the Dead altar at the house, or want to cheer up a gravesite, or just want to have something pretty on your coffee table, pick up some marigolds in town, or at the ranch, and enjoy.

A Farewell to Nelson Denniston

There will be a Celebration of Life potluck for longtime Rosarito resident Nelson Michael Denniston on Saturday, October 27, 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the home of Judy Westphal in Mision Viejo.

Nelson passed away after a brief illness on September 7. Born February 13, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York, Nelson served in the United States Army and saw action in the Korean War. Nelson was married for 52 years to wife, Adele (who preceded him in death). The couple lived in Long Island, NY, and moved to Orange County, California in 1965. Nelson is survived by his sister Ellen, his two children, daughter Vanessa, and son, Rosarito resident Wayne, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Nelson built DC-9s and DC-10s for McDonald Douglas before supervising the manufacture of computer chips in the OC. Nelson also worked closely with the Orange County Repertory Company before retiring to Rosarito with Adele in 2005.

While in Rosarito, Nelson kept busy in the community by serving as a volunteer and Board member of many of Rosarito’s charities, including the United Society of Baja California, Flying Samaritans, and Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos. He was also a monthly attendee of the FRAO breakfast meetings. I never saw this man without a smile and a cheerful word for me… for everybody. So please come to the potluck with a smile and a cheerful Nelson story to share.

Potluck information: The main dish and dessert will be provided. Please bring a side dish of eight servings to share. A no host bar will feature coffee, soda, beer and wine. Advance RSVP is required. Please contact Jim Henshaw at, cell phone 664-748-3949, by October 22.  Directions: KM 50 on  the free road, south of the sand dunes; 49994 Calle San Juan Capistrano in Mision Viejo, south arch. For additional information, please contact Judy Westphal at

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Denniston family at this sorrowful time.

Hearts of Baja Christmas Toy Drive

As the weather cools, thoughts turn to Christmas. C’mon. By now you’ve realized the days are growing shorter, and the stores are filled with Christmas ornaments AND Halloween candy at the same time.

Many children will not be experiencing a very merry Christmas this year. You can help to guarantee they are not forgotten. Hearts of Baja Children’s Network is announcing their “1000 Dolls and Balls” drive to ensure all local children have something to open on Christmas Day. Now, you can donate any new unwrapped toy to the cause (it doesn’t have to be a ball or a doll). Nor does it have to be a toy. Also needed are all sizes of shoes and clothing, as well as blankets. Sure, “throws” are acceptable, but more children can fit under a blanket than under a throw. You can even help out families by donating non-perishable food items.

No time to shop? You may donate money using PayPal, MasterCard or Visa at the Hearts of Baja website, Simple. Just do it. Feeling generous? Sign up for a monthly donation of $5 or more. You won’t even feel it; just one less Big Mac each month.

All items may be conveniently dropped off at Click-On Mail Room, Surf Brewing, Charly’s Taqueria, Bobby’s by the Sea, Gary’s La Fonda, La Paloma, Café Conrado, Plan B, or the Judith Douglas Spa. I’m sure readers of the Gringo Gazette live pretty close to one of these fine establishments, or have a handy computer on which to donate funds.

Hearts of Baja, partnering with Baja Outreach and Angel and Rosy Lopez, can now reach additional homes and farms in the hills, not previously served. The more happy kids, the better.

Hearts of Baja Children’s Network thanks you very much, in advance, for your generosity. For more information, or to donate, please visit:, or Hearts of Baja Children’s Network on Facebook.

What’s Up With The Trash Collection In Rosarito?

You may have noticed that your trash cans are being emptied on a different day than they were in August. Rosarito’s Secretary of Urban Development Jose Michael Angle released the new schedule of the city’s rubbish pickup. Many areas of Rosarito, specifically neighborhoods in the hills, complained of sporadic pickup or no pick up at all of their trash, leaving a “very bad smell” in some neighborhoods. Blamed are an increased population and high tourism rate.

The Municipal Public Works Department will have eight trucks active during the day and three trucks at night. Night collection is for the Benito Juarez Boulevard and Popotla  business districts. There are also three trucks available for “heavy duty” item pickup.

Many are not happy with the new schedule (including me, who now has pickup on Saturdays instead of Wednesday when my housekeeper is here). Has your pickup date changed? The new schedule is available at the Public Works office in the City government building. You may also contact FRAO (Foreign Relations Assistance Office) through Facebook/ Cal Rox  (FRAO Rosarito) and check their post dated August 28.

Let’s Drink For A Good Cause

Cruz Roja and the Flying Samaritans offer you the opportunity to pretend being a drunk German and feel good about it!


No? Well, I know where you can get LOTS of beer: Cruz Roja Primo Tapia will host their 3rd Annual Oktoberfest Saturday, October 13, 1 – 5 pm at the Mision Viejo North Club House (K 50), just south of the sand dunes.

Entrance tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the event. Advance tickets may be purchased from any CRPT Board member, at the CRPT Thrift Store (Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10:30 – 2:30), or online at

Great wursts and kraut is on the menu, with wine and beer (mucho beer!) Music will be provided by Rosarito favorite Hola Soy Lola. There will also be a yodeling contest and a costume contest, so tone up those vocal chords, iron that dirndl, and polish your Lederhosen.  If you’re like me and just want to quietly celebrate Oktoberfest, there is a silent auction and raffle that will need some attention.

All proceeds will benefit the Cruz Roja Primo Tapia ambulance service. For more information and tickets, go to, and help keep the ambulance service going strong.

Can’t wait that long? The Flying Samaritans are having their 1st Oktoberfest on Thursday, October 11, 1 – 5 pm, at the Real Del Mar Club House.

Authentic German food and beer in abundance, with music by the Jazz Bajhemians. In addition to the silent auction with a lot of great stuff, there will be a special live auction of a 6-day South African Safari.

Funds will benefit the Rosarito Chapter of the Flying Samaritans, a free medical clinic for Mexicans who have no other access to health care. And with the loss of their major July 4th fundraiser, mucho dinero is desperately needed to fund these indispensable clinics.

For information and tickets:, or contact; (US) 1-858-240-2360, or (MX) 661-100-6066.

Both of these fine organizations are US 501(c)(3) registered which means that all of your donations for these events is US tax deductible.

The Rosarito Mariachi Fest Is Here

And it’s all about “Coco”!


If it’s October, it must be Mariachi time in Rosarito. The 9th Annual Mariachi and Folklorico Festival will return to the Rosarito Beach Hotel October 3rd – 6th. Three days of intense talleres (workshops) in singing, dancing, and Mariachi instruments precede the Grand Concerto event on Saturday, October 6.

As always, 100% of the net proceeds will benefit the Rosarito Club de Ninos y Ninas (Boys and Girls Club). This year, the funds will go towards additional construction and Club operations of the facility, located in Colonia Lucio Blanco. If you haven’t been up there yet to see the Club, please do so! Visitors are always welcome to tour the place and see what goes on…and maybe offer to be a volunteer.

If you are brave enough, sign up for the workshops. The cost for three days, October 3 – 5, is only $60 and open to people (even non-Mexicans) of all ages! Choose between singing, folkloric dancing, or Mariachi band. And you don’t have to bring your own instrument!

Tickets are available for the popular Cocktails with the Stars (5:30, October 4), featuring appetizers from local eateries and some really great wine. And don’t forget to have your photo taken with the stars of the Mariachi.

Prior to “Cocktails” is the annual inauguration of Mariachi greats into the Mariachi Hall of Fame, located in the Rosarito Beach Hotel, right next to Chaubert’s Restaurant and the Quixote Room. And this event is free!

Friday night is the Student Showcase Concert where students will perform musical numbers learned in the workshops. Get some really good mariachi performances for a mere $15. And keep your eyes and ears open for “Playing and Singing for Food” activities at several Rosarito eateries during the week.

Saturday is a full day, starting at 10am, with Competitions featuring Mariachi groups and Folkloric dancers from all over Mexico for a mere $5! Prepare to see some great acts, including (hopefully) ladies that dance with full (unopened) bottles of beer on their cabesas. You will have plenty of time to get home and clean up for the Grand Concert at 7 pm.

Doors for Saturday night’s Grand Concert open at 6 pm. This year, Mariachi Fest celebrates the 2017 Disney-Pixar film “CoCo,” a film about a boy who has dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol.

And this year it IS all about “CoCo.” Workshop teachers for the week all worked on the animated movie, which won the Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Achievement in Music Written for a Motion Picture.

Tickets for Saturday evening’s performance range from General Admission ($25) to  Diamond (better seating at $65), and VIP (reserved table seating, $100.) Headlining is Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan and the Mariachi Divas.  Other celebrities participating Saturday night include Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar, Musical arrangers of “CoCo,” and winner of multiple Grammy Awards, and many other performers.

Los Angeles’ Ballet Folklorico, who performed the Oscar-winning Best Song of the Year at the Oscars, will perform, as will Trio Ellas, who is very popular at Mariachi Fest.

Never before seen will be the world premiere of Impresario Edward March’s “MagiConcert Virtual Orchestra,” performing on the big screen and stage concurrently.

Tickets are still available for all of these Mariachi Fest events, by visiting, or contacting Rosy Torres at For special Rosarito Beach Hotel packages, go to, or (US): 1-800-ROSARITO or (MX) 01-800-265-2322. ,

All Aboard the Rosarito Restaurant Tour

You keep telling yourself, “I just have to try out (enter Restaurant Name here),” and you never quite get around to it. Well, no more excuses. Welcome to the Baja Tourism Promotional Restaurant Tour, organized by Scot Richardson of Once Upon a Time in Rosarito and Angie Gomez. The photo team also included Linda C Daly, Chris Gallo, Chris Lord.

Recently 50 Rosaritenses boarded a tour bus for eleven restaurants in eleven hours, visiting eateries from Magana’s in the south, the Charly’s Taqueria at k37.

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